If you want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, go ahead and get your green beer on. If you want to celebrate Ireland, well, it's going to take a bit more than a pair of shamrock undies and some outrageous flirting over Baileys with a guy named Seamus.
This is a good place to start. Diving into Irish cinema is an excellent way to acquaint yourself with a rich culture that has so much more to it than binge-drinking and "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" buttons. By "Irish cinema," we don't mean Far and Away, or Patriot Games, or any other Hollywood production that merely features an Enya soundtrack. We're referring to films that actually explore the Irish experience, whether it be through mysticism, religion, The Troubles, or war. Irish cinema can be joyous and dealt with a gleam in the eye (Waking Ned Devine). It can also be bleak and haunting and overwhelmingly depressing (Angela's Ashes). And, yes, on occasion, there is an Enya song.
Kick off your cinematic studies with this round-up of must-watch Irish films. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll walk away with a mad crush on Brendan Gleeson. T'er are worse things.